Thursday, June 30, 2011

Two girls, one dress

This week's nightlife column is about one of the fashion world's scariest scenes: two women show up to the same party wearing the same dress.

In the grand scheme of things, the emotional stress of matching gowns is purely a temporary discomfort.

But for a culture that often views wardrobe choice as an extension of individuality, an unwanted identical twin can seriously break someone’s nightlife stride.

For some reason, it seems like the crisis is more prevalent during the months of sandals and sundresses.

Unless you have a personal seamstress employed in your basement, you can fall victim to the disaster.

If that happens, what do you do?

For starters, avoid the urge to tarnish your twin’s getup with spilled cranberry juice. We’re not in the market for “The Real Housewives of Columbus.” Yet.

Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Change your name, change your life

OK...maybe this post's headline is a little dramatic.

I needed a way to get excited about the over-discussed topic of changing your last name after marriage.

I feel like I've already discussed it at length, but I couldn't resist linking to this article that lists six ways of changing your name after marriage.

The list includes common options like changing your name and, well, not changing your name.

But there are also some unconventional suggestions like creating a new last name and making a mashup of you and your partner's last names.

Hmm. Do people really do that?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Goodbye gay bars?

Are gay bars headed for extinction?

That's the central question in this Slate article, which asks if a broadened gay rights movement will make gay bars, well, a little unnecessary. An excerpt:

Once upon a time — back in the dark days of the late 20th century — gay bars were the only venues where gay people could let down their defenses. Now, at least in urban centers, gay men and lesbians feel safe in scads of straight restaurants and bars. But when new options open up, what happens to the old segregated institutions?

I'm not sure if this hypothesis holds up in Columbus, where gay bars still often exist under a cloak of secrecy.

I think the major issue locally is getting gay bars to a point where they're not hidden by unmarked doors and secret locations.

Share your experiences with the local gay bar scene, or lack thereof.

Curly hair and dating

My hair is often an unruly third wheel in the dating world.

For many years, I was resigned a belief that my curly locks meant I could never beg a guy to run his fingers through my hair.

Once I learned to straighten my tresses, I had to adapt to a two-hour primping routine that inevitably delayed many nights on the town.

The memories resurfaced when I found this DoubleX piece praising the possibility of a curly-haired heroine in a Pixar film.

Many people likely shrug their shoulders at the news.

But it's a major victory for curly-haired women who have grown accustomed to headlines like the Millionaire Matchmaker's assertion that curly hair probably won't do you any favors in the dating world.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Fighting words

Looking to explain your relationship fights with something other than "my boyfriend is stupid"?

Consult this Wall Street journal column, where one writer points to brain differences that can make couples butt heads.

Short summary: When one person is strong in analytical thinking and the other person is strong in conceptual thinking, you have a good chance of fighting over silly things.

I've been there.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure articles like this decrease a couple's chances of fighting.

They do, however, help you realize that occasional fights don't always mean your personalities are flawed. They're just...different.


Monday power anthem

Today's power anthem was inspired by the tribute to Patti LaBelle at Sunday's 2011 BET Awards.

This song rocks my face off.

Repeat after me: "I'm in control, my worries are few."

Seize the day!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Packing heat...and bras

You use a duffel bag, he relies on a garment bag. Can the relationship survive?

That question might cross your mind upon reading this guy's blog post, "Men pack for Mars, women pack for Venus."

The central message?

Some people think men and women pack for vacation differently. Men apparently "tend to group types of clothing, and women are more likely to group outfits."

While a Jezebel writer questions the conclusion's accuracy, I can't help questioning its significance.

We can find gender differences in a variety of daily activities, ranging from packing a suitcase to showering. But do those differences always indicate some deeper life truth?

Dia Frampton starts a party

Tough week? Need a little encouragement to hit the town tonight?

Check out this version of "Ignition," performed by Dia Frampton, a finalist on "The Voice."

Yes, I am obsessed with "The Voice," and yes, Dia Frampton is my favorite contestant in the competition.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Journalists fail at love

Imagine my disappointment upon seeing journalism listed as one of the worst careers for love in this article.

Ouch. Why do you have to be that way, universe?

The reasons behind the distinction don't surprise me: bad hours, lots of stress and an inability to get romantically involved with sources.

I wish I could refute the label, but it's somewhat true.

During my career as a professional journalist, I've mainly dated fellow writers. My boyfriend and I have dated throughout most of our time at the Ledger.

That eliminates the whole "not dating your sources" thing, but it hardly makes for a flawless relationship.

The stress factor is still there, and perhaps it's even worse because in my free time I have someone constantly reiterating the same stresses I'm already feeling. If we're not careful, we enter a deep abyss of work-related conversation.

Sounds fun, right?

I bet you really want to double date with us now.

Since neither of us is looking for a dramatic career change, we'll have to accept life in one of the worst careers for love.

I think that with the wrong attitudes, any career can destroy a relationship. A journalist's schedule isn't always ideal, but it's hardly in the realm of the many deployments I've witnessed since moving to Columbus.

Want to share some reflections about your job?

Dating, Southern style

While exploring the Internet, I came across a press release for "Sweet Home Alabama," a new reality TV dating show on CMT.

The concept: 10 "city slickers" and 10 "country" guys compete to for the affection of "a sweet Southern girl from Alabama."

The show comes on the heels of "My Big Redneck Wedding," another CMT reality show that focuses largely on relationships in the South.

Confession: I'm an avid "Redneck Wedding" watcher, and I'll likely sneak a peek at "Sweet Home Alabama" when it premieres.

I think it's safe to predict the first episode will involve cowboy hats. And camouflage. And country music.

Those factors make for great TV, but I can't help wondering if these shows reduce Southern dating to a pop culture novelty.

Sure, all regions of the U.S. attract some stereotypes.

But I don't think even California, with its abundance of hippies and surfers, has seen a reality TV presence as large as what's come from the South.

What do you think? Are these shows helping or hurting Southerners' chances on the meet market?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is divorce cool?

"I'm a free bitch, baby!"

Sound familiar? If so, you've probably watched one too many episodes in the "Real Housewives" franchise, when cast members often flaunt bling and announce their freedom in a divorce's aftermath.

But wait.

This NY Times article says divorce has lost its "cachet." An excerpt:

The experience of being a divorced woman has changed, along with the statistics. “The No. 1 reaction I get from people when I tell them I’m getting divorced is, ‘You’re so brave,’ ” said Stephanie Dolgoff, a 44-year-old mother of two elementary-school daughters who was separated last year.

“In the 1970s, when a woman got divorced, she was seen as taking back her life in that Me Decade way. Nowadays, it’s not seen as liberating to divorce. It’s scary.”

I've never bought into a tendency to only equate divorce with freedom. I think that when people go that route, they're often masking other emotions.

What do you think? How has your impression of divorce changed or evolved?

How to kickball

Happy Wednesday! Quick reminder: If you want to play in Columbus' adult kickball league, you must sign up by 7 p.m. tonight. Registration costs $49.

Access the online registration form here.

If you need an added incentive to sign up, I'll note that this will be my first season playing kickball. So, um, the next few weeks should be...interesting. Don't worry, I'll write about the entire ordeal.

Here's a refresher on my previous traumatic experiences involving the game.

See you on the field!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Feminist boyfriends

You probably get a lot of questions from your boyfriend.

"What's for dinner?"

"Want a drink?"

"How can I become a feminist boyfriend?"

Haha. Fortunately, there's this article, conveniently titled "How to be a feminist boyfriend." Suggestions include sharing the burden of contraception, having intellectual debates and cooking together.

Easy enough, right?

Yes, my boyfriend and I occasionally discuss the "f" word. His answers don't always line up with mine, but he's learned to listen to my opinions and respond with lines other than "you're crazy."

So I guess he classifies as a feminist boyfriend.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Push presents

As the oldest child of relatively progressive California parents, I grew familiar with the realities of the birthing process at an early age.

I learned many adjectives can characterize labor and delivery. Intense. Emotional. Maybe a little gross.

"Glamorous" was not one of the options.

Yet somehow, it seems like every new mommy these days links giving birth with getting bling.

Welcome to the world of "push presents."

This article describes the trend, which often consists of husbands giving their wives high-end jewelry to reward them for the physical pain of having a baby.

Sorry, friends...I'm not on board with this one. It seems like a selfish tendency that detracts from the emotional value of starting a family.

Then again, I might think differently after enduring swollen ankles and morning sickness.

What do you think?

Monday power anthem

Today's power anthem is a new song that I learned while attending a wedding over the weekend. More on the wedding later.

Anyway, this was the couple's first dance. The singer, Michael Warren, apparently hails from Birmingham.

Actually, the tune -- "You Changed Me" -- kind of reinforces some of the false ideals many women have about relationships. I still think you can't really change someone, no matter how hard you try.

Nonetheless, it's still a pretty song. And maybe a temporary suspension from reality isn't such a bad thing after all.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Father knows best?

I couldn't resist kicking off Father's Day weekend with this adorable father-daughter commercial featuring Robin Williams.

Check out my column about what happened my boyfriend bonded with my dad. I was slightly jealous.

I love you, dad!!!

National Flip Flop Day 2011

My high school had a policy prohibiting backless shoes, and I envied the girls who wore flip flops in a daring attempt to fly under the radar.

Many tried. Few succeeded.

Ah, simpler times.

With age, my flip flop-inspired fears have moved beyond school suspension.

I now wonder if it's possible to wear the shoes without exuding an inherent focus on slackerdom.

Ponder that question by celebrating National Flip Flop Day today.

Don't know what to do? Well, you can try to cash in on this free smoothie deal from Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

If that doesn't work, get a pedicure. Trust me, that gnarly blister on your big toe isn't hot.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Talk to me!

Ah, the thrill of awkward silences.

If you hate conversation lulls, check out this list of 10 no-fail first date conversations.

Upon finding the article, I realized I'm pretty lucky. I've never been thrown into a date where I didn't have at least one thing in common with the person sitting on the opposite side of the table.

I've always shared some sort of common ground with my dates -- anything from college classes to a job.

That's generally enough to make a first date devoid of uncomfortable pauses.

I think I'm pretty good at making conversation. Somebody once said I could talk to a toaster for two hours. I consider that a compliment.

I only get frustrated when I'm stuck with a conversation partner who doesn't venture beyond the world of one-word answers. I hate feeling like an interrogator.

What's your conversation advice for first dates?

Bed sheet drama

I'll never forget a post-hookup story from a college friend.

She stayed overnight in a guy's room. The next morning, he asked for instructions on how to wash his sheets. They hadn't yet been in the washing machine.

It was, like, April.

Disgusting, right?

Maybe we're more inclined to let those things slide in college. But are we bound to become bed sheet snobs upon entering the real world?

Results of a recent survey suggest the answer is yes. The survey says bed sheets are one of the biggest dealbreakers for women, according to this blog post.

Among the top annoyances? Sports team sheets.

I totally agree. But also, I have no shame in admitting my New Kids on the Block sheets are (hopefully) still in a storage cabinet at my childhood home.

I'm not afraid to use them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Are catcalls flattering?

While walking to work, you get an inevitable greeting from across the street: "Nice legs!"

It's annoying. Immature. Demeaning. And...flattering?

Jezebel offers an interesting discussion about whether there's anything appealing about catcalls. It's prompted by a recent advice column in which a writer confesses she missed catcalls upon getting old.

Here's an excerpt from the Jezebel piece:

Real talk: I'd be lying if I said I'd never in my life been flattered by a catcall. There's a variety that can be nonthreatening — I don't really mind some guy saying "hey beautiful" to me on the sidewalk, and if I'm in the right frame of mind, it can feel kind of nice. The problem is that this can verge all too quickly into scary territory.

I, too, am occasionally flattered by catcalls.

But then I usually remind myself there's probably nothing special about me that warrants the compliments.

No, I'm not being too hard on myself.

I think that if guys are going to make a habit out of shouting at women from a street corner, they're not too serious about a "type." They just want a living, breathing woman.


Seventy years of marriage

Check out my article about a local couple celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary today. I had fun doing the interview and left feeling a little more confident in the power of love.

In my career as a professional journalist, I've done my share of anniversary stories. I've also interviewed quite a few people who have lived to be 100. And beyond.

When I write these articles, I go into the experience expecting the interviewee to disclose some shocking secret to longevity.

That pretty much never happens.

Instead, they generally speak to the benefits of living a simple life and sculpting your basic life philosophy according to, well, common sense.

Here's what the husband in the 70-year relationship said when I asked him about conquering obstacles to marriage:

"We’d just always come home when we were supposed to."

Amid life's pressures, things aren't always that simple.

But sometimes they are.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Looking for a hot single dad?

Sad news, daters. If you want to hook up with a "foodie dad," you might have to move to Arizona.

I recently found this press release, which lists a variety of cities where daters can "find the single dad who's just right for you."

The lists are divided into categories: foodie dads, do-it-yourself dads and sports-crazed dads.

Unfortunately, the lists don't mention any cities in Georgia. Or Alabama.

Fun fact: Single dads of all ages are apparently 46 percent more likely to meet someone on versus men without children.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Must love cats

Tell me, friends: Are you tired of seeing this video in your Facebook news feed? It has to be fake, right?

Monday power anthem

How's your Monday going? I'm having a pretty good day, due largely to the fact that I'm still in somewhat of a '90s mood. Hence today's power anthem.

But you can't go wrong with Ace of Base, right? I know at least one Ledger-Enquirer employee who will be psyched to hear this song.

Seize the day!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Male engagement gifts

Don't get too obsessed with your new piece of engagement bling, ladies. After all, you still have to buy that engagement gift for your guy.


Here's an interesting discussion of a possible trend of male engagement gifts.

That is, when a women receives an engagement ring and then gives her significant other a token of appreciation -- often a watch.

Yeah, I'm not jumping up and down, either.

If my boyfriend proposed, I MIGHT give him a bottle of gin. But I'm not sold on the whole watch idea, partially because I think a general appreciation for watches is declining.

What's more, you're supposed to celebrate your relationship in an engagement's aftermath -- as opposed to trying to one-up each other with gifts.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


The recent Anthony Weiner scandal has produced inevitable debates over whether Internet sex is cheating.

Even I couldn't resist those discussions, as illustrated by my decision to create this Ledger-Enquirer poll.

Anyway, the ordeal has also apparently spawned a new word: chweeting.

It seems like a nice hybrid of "cheating" and "tweeting." Cute, right? But also a little disturbing.

Amid discussions of Internet boundaries and relationships, I wonder if infidelity via social media will soon develop its own vocabulary.

Any additions to the growing dictionary?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Anthony Weiner photos and dating

If questionable photos of you circulated online -- and they were real -- what would you do?

The question crossed my mind after I found this article, which analyzes public figures' reactions to recent photo scandals.

The moral? Denial is not the best option.

Of course, that lesson is easy to embrace when you're not directly involved in the situation. But I understand how a first instinct approach would embrace denial.

Deny, deny, deny...and hope it all goes away. Too bad that rarely happens.

But at the same time, it's not like an immediate confession makes everything better, either.

You probably won't get a round of applause for standing up at a photo scandal's onset and saying, "Yeah, that's totally me."

What would you do?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sex and the City forever!

You know the trick.

You're too nervous to directly discuss a relationship issue with your significant other, so you conveniently schedule some quality TV watching time during a "Sex and the City" marathon.

Oh wow. What a strange coincidence. We just happen to be watching an episode that revolves around saying "I love you."

"What do you think about the show, honey?"

Sound familiar?

Here's one of the long-term effects of "Sex and the City":

Jezebel details recent research suggesting college students "were twice as likely to discuss sexual issues with their partners after seeing a similar conversation on the show."

The study pertains largely to sexual health issues, but I'd suggest the series continues to spur conversations spanning multiple aspects of the relationship world.

I don't like everything about "Sex and the City" -- I'm a particularly harsh critic of the films -- but I appreciate the many social conversations it inspired.


Wednesday is really hump day

There's a good chance partiers are friskiest on Wednesday nights, according to recent study results described in the New York Times.


Weeknight partiers seem to have a distinctly different vibe than the people you see on weekends.

I'm left with just one question: Is Wednesday the new Saturday?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday power anthem: Sex and Candy!

Today we have a very special Monday power anthem: video footage of Marcy Playground performing "Sex and Candy" at Summer Side Show 2011 Saturday night in Columbus!

Understandably, it was the second to last song in their set list. They followed it with a cover of "Hallelujah," also known as the obligatory "it's time to go home" song.

They're actually pretty good musicians. I enjoyed their other material, not to mention their willingness to tolerate a bunch of kids attending their concert mainly for one song.

(Thanks to Alan Riquelmy for making this video!)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Feminism gone wild

Katie's excellent column made me have all sorts of internal debates about the parameters of feminism.

Those debates follow "Why Being Drunk Is A Feminist Issue," an article that recently made waves online. Chief among the writer's assertions:

It’s clear to me that women need to question how we play into binge drinking culture so readily. We need to learn and stick to our own alcohol limits. We need to stop equating celebration with getting blasted. We need to stop dulling upset and hurt feelings with alcohol.

And perhaps most importantly, when we’re out, we need to watch out for our friends and other women who may have had too much.

Amid the praise it has received, the piece has also been criticized as possibly leaning too far in blaming rape victims. That's a tough debate, and one I won't attempt to tackle in what's supposed to be a concise post.

I will, however, say that about two years ago I became keenly aware of the irresponsibility dominating the drinking scene.

There wasn't a particular moment that spurred the realization.

Rather, it was a combination of factors -- like a prevalence of alcohol-centered social events with zero focus on designated drivers.

Sure, these discussions aren't overtly rooted in gender issues.

But they underscore priorities that are hardly exempt from feminism's umbrella: common sense and basic safety.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer reading for couples

Honey, let's get on the same page.

I couldn't resist using that line to begin a blog post about whether couples who read together stay together.

YourTango recommends some books for couples to read together this summer.

I initially called the idea cheesy. But upon further reflection, I realized it could be a great impetus for discussions. That is, assuming you don't read a Nicholas Sparks novel together.

That's the thing: Book choice is key.

I'd assume that boyfriend/girlfriend reading clubs aren't too common simply because it's hard to find a book both parties want to read.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


During a recent night on the local club scene, a guy gave me this line: "You don't wear a lot of makeup, do you?"

I fired back with a speech about how I woke up at 5:30 a.m., endured a stressful day at work and still hadn't eaten dinner.

Which prompted him to backpedal a bit, explaining that his question was only meant to emphasize a belief that I had so much natural beauty that I didn't need makeup. Um, sure.

Either way, I walked away insulted.

Was this type of exchange an isolated incident? Maybe not.

Jezebel features an interesting piece on "negging," which Urban Dictionary defines as "low-grade insults meant to undermine the self-confidence of a woman so she might be more vulnerable to your advances."

Pretty appealing, right? Note the sarcasm.

Tell me if you've seen this pickup strategy on the local meet market. Does it ever work?